Bovine field trip
As I knew was wont to happen, Maisy and Daisy began their escapades in the last week. In case you missed it, we had twin calves born late in January that have been residing in the bottom of our barn ever since. In order to give them the best possible chance to grow, we have been supplementing their mother’s milk with milk replacer twice a day. The little piggies each are taking a gallon from us a day.
One morning last weekend, our neurotic dog, Todd, began barking madly before sunup. Being that he has a tendency to bark at barn cats, the neighbor’s dogs, passing cars and even dust as it gets caught in the sunlight, we ignored him for a little while. But, finally, at his insistence, I got up and looked out the window.
Coming out of the top door of the barn was a cow with a white face. Knowing that the only white-faced cow living in the barn is Maisy and Daisy’s mother, I immediately started dressing for the barn. My husband did likewise.
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I took one more glance out the window and saw one of the twins running in circles and bucking her heels in the air. She must have been having such a good time on her field trip to the second floor.
But my laughter was short-lived as I noticed only one calf was with the mother. I hurried into my boots and headed out the door, still pulling on my jacket. I took an empty calf bottle with me, hoping to lure whichever twin I saw first back into their pen. Maisy saw me coming with the bottle and walked right over to me. I walked slowly backward, keeping the bottle just out of Maisy’s reach, feeling much like the carrot that keeps the mule pulling the cart.
She followed me all the way back to the bottom barn door and into the pen. I could hear my husband asking about the other calf, so I began to search for Daisy. The momma cow must have noticed me leading her baby away, because all of a sudden, 1,500 pounds of bellowing fury appeared at the door to the pen. I opened it in a hurry and got out of the way. She strolled right in and began licking Maisy.
Just then, up popped Daisy from under some loose hay just outside of the pen. She was right under us the whole time. We had nearly stepped on her in our zeal to search for her. I opened the door again and let her in.
The three of them seemed content to be back together and back at home. Momma cow finished bathing the girls and started chomping some hay, although I’m not sure where she put it, since my husband said she had eaten about 75 pounds of grain while in the top of the barn. The girls got down to the business of eating, and I went to make some real bottles for them. My husband secured the pen door and started the rest of the chores.
And so began another day in the life of a farmer and his wife.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.